This may be slightly OT, but I wanted to follow on with a question... (btw, I'm an occasional lurker, but recently registered on the forum and this is my first post)
I'll *try* to give a brief background: A few years ago I discovered, through various readings on church history and other things that seemed unrelated at the time, the Orthodox church. I was raised in a Methodist church (a protestant denomination), then for a period of time in my 20s fell away from any regular church attendance for a variety of reasons. My wife was raised in a fundamentalist Pentecostal church and absolutely hated the fire and brimstone, etc. stuff and while she is still a Christian, is somewhat suspicious of "formal religion" as she'd put it. In any case, due to our daughter's (who is now 11 yrs old) attending a particular private school for a time, we spent several years attending a Lutheran church regularly, though we stopped attending for reasons unrelated to the church theology. During that time my wife did attend with me but never really "got into it".
Now we've been attending an Orthodox church for some time, I have taken some catachumen classes from the Priest, though my wife has not been interested enough to do so. All 3 of us attend the DL fairly regularly. While I feel ready to be Chrismated myself, as does my Priest, I have felt strongly that I'm meant to wait until my wife and daughter are willing and ready to as well. A lot of my wife's hesitancy to delve deeper into Orthodoxy is from her upbringing, though there are still some areas of Orthodoxy that seem to be a hangup in her mind, and I've not had much luck in convinving her. So I'll start with just one subject matter for now...
OK, on to the question (sorry I really did try to be brief, but thought some background would help). My wife has a concern (and I don't mean to offend anyone with this question) with transmission of germs when venerating icons, as well as the cross used by the Priest for a blessing or kissing the priest's hand... she thinks this seems a little gross and doesn't understand why it is an important part of the role of icons, etc in Orthodox life. I've not seen this specific aspect addressed elsewhere - usually it's quesitons on the theological concerns with icons rather than sanitary concerns.
Another point of background... at many protestant churches (and also the pentecostal church where my wife was raised) there is a very "detached" way of dealing with the few material aspects of worship as well as our fellow people. For example, often communion (on rare occasions when it is served) is given out by using tiny, individual disposable plastic cups to hold the wine (or more likely, plain grape juice). So coming from this background, I do see where it can be sort of a "culture shock". It hasn't stood in my way, but the same isn't true for my wife. Any thoughts or advice are much appreciated!! Thank you!